|Photo credit: @asaofficial|
History was made when French President, Emmanuel Macron paid a visit to Nigeria. The 39-year-old, who became the youngest president in the history of France, was delighted to be hosted by Nigerians. As we awaited his arrival, all was set to make an indelible impression on the French president.
His first port of call was at Aso rock where he met with President Buhari. Of course, this visit to the most populous country in Africa would have been incomplete without 'touching' the center of excellence- Lagos State. The meeting point was the New Afrika shrine in the heart of the Ikeja, the state's capital.
In an event tagged as 'A celebration of African culture' being hosted by Nigerian singer, Banky W, the French president in the company of the Lagos State governor, Akinwumi Ambode played the guests. Surrounded by music enthusiasts, Nigerian celebrities, diplomats, the media, the shrine was lit up to the highest climax of entertainment and infotainment.
With thrilling performances from the artistes particularly from Femi Kuti, son of the Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, the afrobeats legend, guests were held spellbound by the quality of good music and live performances.
It was not just another occasion for merriment. It was also a good time to establish contacts and make lasting networks. To the fashion conscious, it was time to make fashion statement. Trust Nigerian celebrities, who were present, they 'did not fall' hand, they didn't not only make their presence felt, they made their fashion statements. Notable among them was Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jolade-Ekeinde, Joke and Olu Jacobs, Rita Dominic, Ramsey Nouah, Desmond Elliot, Alexx Ekubo to mention a few who came decked up in different stylish attires.
The French president's visit to Nigeria left many imprints and they include:
-Nigeria reclaims its place in the world map not as the known corrupt and 'Shit-hole' country that it has been linked to but as a nation of hardworking and accommodating citizens, who are open-minded and industrious enough to establish ties with their foreign counterparts
-In essence, the bilateral ties between France and Nigeria would become stronger. French investors would have no issues in doing business in Nigeria and vice-versa. With this integration, all barriers and limitation to trading and business ventures are now broken. Basically, free trade zones have now been established.
- Tourism, a thriving sector of the economy is being tapped into. Ever since, crude oil was discovered and became the mainstay of the Nigerian economy,other sectors suffered neglect. However, the French president's visit to Nigeria particularly to the Africa shrine has shown that tourism is very lucrative venture that can attract and serve tourists from far and wide .
- It has made Nigerians appreciate and embrace their culture more. With the introduction of westernization, the African culture, arts and music became relegated to the backseat. However, the French president's visit has made us to value and appreciate our culture more besides it is our pride and identity.
- He serves as a big inspiration to the younger generation. It was gathered that before he became president, he worked as an intern in the French Embassy in Nigeria in the early 2000s before becoming the number one citizen of France. In other words, "if you can make in Nigeria, you can make it anywhere".
- With Nigeria housing over 180 million people and producing two million barrels of crude oil per day, this is an indicator to France that the country is a key economic partner for business investments and opportunities.
- A major merger between Nigeria and France to fight insurgency facing the former has been established and is another visible result of President Emmanuel Macron's visit.
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